hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
105,639 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Toyota Prius lights problems

lights problem

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2004 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 8)

problem #154

Oct 242016

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


Headlights would randomly go out completely and would very quickly have to turn them off and then back on to get them to work. This did not happen very often but they did occur unexpectedly and caused extremely unsafe conditions while driving. Additionally, the headlights would barely illuminate the road at night all the time while driving in all conditions and on all roads, and the area they illuminated was only a very short distance in front of the car so this also created unsafe conditions at all times. To compensate I would turn on the high beams and then the proper area of the road would be illuminated. This made me have to switch from low to high beam on a regular basis and was extremely distracting having to do so whenever an oncoming car approached! I recently paid about $350-375 to have them relamped and that helped but only a very small amount. This is still a big problem and makes me not want to drive this car at night!!!

- Lorton, VA, USA

problem #153

Aug 232016


  • 114,000 miles
Description of the problem: The H.I.D. headlights on my 2004 Prius fails unexpectedly (they turn off randomly, on their own). This problem affects mainly the right headlight. The right headlight fails very frequently (hundreds of times during the last 12 months). The left headlight fails sporadically (less than 10 times during the last 6 months). This issue affects both low beam and high beam headlamps simultaneously. When a headlight fails, I turn off the lights then I turn them back on. This brings back the lights. Then the failure occurs unexpectedly after seconds, minutes, or hours. This issue has occurred while my vehicle was stationary, in motion, on a city street or a highway, turning, braking, etc. This issue also occurs regardless of road conditions (smooth flat roads & speed bumps / potholes) or weather conditions (sunny, rainy, snowy, warm & cold outside temperatures). This is a major safety concern, especially when driving night time on completely unlit roads.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #152

Jul 092016


  • 313,000 miles
Right hid headlamp intermittently goes out while driving and does not go back on. However, when you switch the headlight toggle switch off then on again, right hid headlamp goes back on. While driving for a distance of 120 miles last night, this happened 6 times on both city and highway and road conditions ie. Bumps etc is not a factor since it happens on a smooth paved highway as well. The outage can occur a few minutes after turning the toggle headlamp switch on or it can stay on for 20 miles then out again. Since the car is never left idling with the headlamps on, it is unknown whether right headlamp will go out while parked. Have read in the Prius chat site that many other drivers have experienced similar problem and despite the dealer replacing the hid bulb or even the entire headlamp assembly which is over $1,100 the problems were never fully resolved. Please refer to: priuschat.com/threads/headlight-problem.34584/

- Stewartsville, NJ, USA

problem #151

Aug 012014


  • 155,000 miles


Driver's side headlight was intermittent. I could jiggle the switch and it would come on. This occurred stationary and moving. I have replace the hid bulb twice with sylvania D2R. The headlight does not work now. Dealer will charge over $500 for headlight and ballast repairs--highway robbery. This problem started August 2014.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #150

May 042016


  • 135,000 miles
The left headlight has been going off while driving. I've got the 'safety' package #7 with special hid headlights. When I turn the lights off and on again, it comes back on for awhile. Two nights ago both headlights went out while driving. Very scary! I was on an on ramp and couldn't see at all. They both came back on after I turned the switch off and then on.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

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problem #149

Mar 012016


  • miles
Headlights turn off when driving for about half an hour. I have to turn the headlights off then back on so they can start working again. I do see this to be a safety issue since I drive out of town often and use the freeway most of the time and it is just very hard for me to be turning on and off the headlights at a high speed. This has occurred several times and it's not safe at all. This happens at any speed usually within the first 30 minutes and it continuously turns off.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #148

Mar 072016


  • 126,500 miles


We've noticed this problem only a few times in the car since we've owned it. That's been about 3 years. We seldom drive at night but whenever we have it's always been an issue. Usually just the left goes out and resetting the lights brought it back on. This past week the same thing started to happen and resetting it worked a few times but then both headlights went out and resetting the switch did nothing. Thankfully dawn was on the way and with the fog lights on we just kept going. Once I felt comfortable turning the lights off completely and after waiting 3-5 minutes with the switch off I tried the lights and they came back on. There is definitely a problem with something; maybe an overheat issue with the bulbs, wiring or control box. This is a huge deal. If we'd been driving into the darkness instead of dawn could easily have had an accident.

- Norton Shores, MI, USA

problem #147

Jan 012016


  • miles
At around 145,000 miles the right (passenger) headlight started turning off randomly. It would come back on while driving if I turned my headlights off and back on. Frequency has increased over the last 10,000 miles. Recently, the left headlight went out while on the freeway and the right was already out, leaving me with no headlights. I had to flick them on and off multiple times and flick the brights multiple times to get them to turn back on. I had no headlights for at least 30 seconds while on the highway- though in an urban area where other lights allowed me to see. Twice, I have been left without headlights while on the road- once on the highway and once at a stop light (turning my car off and then back on revived the lights).

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #146

May 012014


  • 100,000 miles
Headlights intermittently flicker and shut off. If headlights are turned off then back on, both headlights will work again. Problem happens while vehicle is in motion, as well as when parked. This has happened several times while driving at night, on rural/poorly lit roads, as well as highways. Usually it is one light or the other that goes off, but about 5 different times both lights have gone off at the same time while driving at night. One of these incidents resulted in a traffic stop by a police officer, who promptly issued me a ticket for driving with no headlights on. Both headlight bulbs have been replaced; all fuses have been checked and/or replaced;12V battery replaced - none of which has solved the problem.

- Summerville, SC, USA

problem #145

Dec 012004


  • 100,000 miles
Driver side headlight intermittently turns off while driving. Driver is not aware headlight is not working until police pulls him over or after returning to garage at home, he can see from headlight glare on the wall that one light is out. Usually turning the light off, and then back on corrects the problem, however you cant be driving down the highway flashing your lights every once in a while to make sure they are on. It is just a dangerous situation. The internet shows this is a common problem and its frustrating that Toyota has not acknowledged or provided a fix.

- Chesterland, OH, USA

problem #144

Dec 072015


  • 154,000 miles


I noticed that my passenger side headlight was out while driving home at night. Two days later, again while driving at night, my passenger side headlight was working perfectly. I have done nothing to repair the light.

- Los Osos, CA, USA

problem #143

Nov 022015


  • 125,000 miles
Sometimes my left front headlight works and sometimes it doesn't. I have not been able to identify any consistent cause of the intermittent failure. Sometimes if the left headlight is out and I flick the high beams on and off, then the light works again, but this doesn't always seem to fix the problem.

- Springfield, PA, USA

problem #142

Oct 142015


  • 45 miles
While driving at night, my headlights will turn off randomly. Sometimes, it is just one but often it is both. If I turn the headlights switch to off and back to on, sometimes one or both lights will turn back on. More recently, this trick hasn't been working as well and I have to drive just using my fog lights. It seems to be something with the computer that controls the headlights. If it was the bulb it would always be out. If it were the wiring, simply flipping the switch on/off wouldn't suddenly get the wiring to connect again.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #141

Jul 092015


  • 200,600 miles
Speedometer & other control information display went blank. Pulled over to side of road but unable to turn off engine. Contacted Toyota & was told problem is known & warranty extend to 9 years & unlimited miles. However, my vehicle is older than nine years, so I must pay estimate $1400 to fix & car will be unavailable for estimate 2 weeks. The vehicle is unsafe to drive, prior to this known problem occurring car was operating perfectly ( averaging 50 mpg per tank of gas, documented). This appears to be a safety problem that was known by the manufacturer, however they seems to be trying to hide this by making the statistical estimate that by extending the warranty the majority of these cars would be off the road and their lawyers & legal insurance would cost less than the few humans kills after this arbitrary 9 year risk period. I could have been killed as a result of this failure! fortunately I was not, however I am left with a vehicle that is undriveable (with no warning!) and can only be repaired by Toyota at a cost I am not able to afford!

- South Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #140

Jun 062012


  • miles
Passenger side headlight began to turn off intermittently and has continued since.

- Lake Oswego, OR, USA

problem #139

Feb 152015


  • 285,000 miles
Headlamp fails intermittently. Usually corrected by switching the headlight switch off and then back on. Sometimes this does not correct the problem.

- North Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #138

Feb 012015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 260,000 miles
Left headlight turned off intermittently. If I turned the light off and back on the headlight would briefly work but then turn off again.

- Sanford, ME, USA

problem #137

Sep 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 155,000 miles
The right headlight keeps going out and after we turn the switch back and forth it goes back on. This past weekend in a driving rain storm at night, the lights went completely out on a windy mountain road. I flicked them on and off several times and they would go on and then go out shortly afterwards. Neither dim or bright would work. I ended up having to pull the bright signal on the column back manually and hold it while driving the last 45 minutes to home. It was very dangerous for about 20 miles in the rain at night the lights going in and out on curves or against on coming traffic, a head-on could have occurred easily.

- Redwood Valley, CA, USA

problem #136

May 182012


  • 90,000 miles
Both headlights spontaneously went out at the same time while driving. This has been an intermittent problem since that date, despite changing the bulbs. Sometimes the lights can be relit by turning the headlight switch off and back on. Sometimes this does not work. Particularly if the bright lights are on, the off-on switching does not work and the headlights remain off.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #135

Sep 132014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 99,698 miles
A driver in front of me told me about one week ago that my headlights were going on and off while I was driving. Then yesterday while stopped at a traffic light, another driver got out of his car to tell me that my lights had gone off. I hadn't noticed a change myself, but then I pulled into a parking lot and cut my lights all the way off and cut them back on and then the light was much brighter. This is not a consistent problem. Sometimes the lights stay on fine and then they go out randomly. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to when this is happening. But if I cut the lights off and then back on, the problem will fix temporarily. I have seen on several forms that many people with 2004-2006 priuses are having this problem.

- Montgomery, AL, USA

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